A young woman’s carefully constructed fantasy world implodes in this brilliantly conceived novel that blurs distinctions between right and wrong, comedy and tragedy, imagination and reality.

Katrina Kim may be broke, the black sheep of her family, and slightly unhinged, but she isn’t a stalker. Her obsession with her co-worker, Kurt, is just one of many coping mechanisms—like her constant shape and number rituals, or the way scenes from her favorite children’s book bleed into her vision whenever she feels anxious or stressed.

But when Katrina finds a cryptic message from Kurt that implies he’s aware of her surveillance, her tenuous hold on a normal life crumbles. Driven by compulsion, she enacts the most powerful ritual she has to reclaim control—a midnight visit to the Cayatoga Bridge—and arrives just in time to witness Kurt’s suicide. Before he jumps, he slams her with a devastating accusation: his death is all her fault.

Horrified, Katrina combs through the clues she’s collected about Kurt over the last three years, but each revelation uncovers a menacing truth: for every moment she was watching him, he was watching her. And the past she thought she’d left behind? It’s been following her more closely than she ever could have imagined.

A gripping page-turner, as well as a sensitive exploration of mental health, Liar, Dreamer, Thief is an intimate portrayal of life in all its complexities—and the dangers inherent in unveiling people’s most closely guarded secrets.

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“Liar, Dreamer, Thief is a surreal thriller that blurs the line between daydream and nightmare. It leaves you with the creeping certainty that there is a different world lurking just under the surface of our own, filled with technicolor lies and terrible truths.”
– Alix E. Harrow, New York Times bestselling and Hugo-award winning author of The Ten Thousand Doors of January

“Clever, urgent, and deeply compassionate. This novel hooked its claws into me and didn’t let go—a brilliant, brutal debut that’s also deeply thoughtful in its examination of family, mental health, and diaspora. Absolutely stunning.”
– Grace D. Li, New York Times bestselling author of Portrait of a Thief

“A gorgeously written, genre-blending take on psychological suspense, Liar, Dreamer, Thief uses the frame of an investigation into a man’s apparent suicide to explore the act of meaning-making itself, as well as the ways neurodivergence and marginality both complicate the process and open it to spectacular new possibilities. This brilliant story is unlike anything I’ve read: provocative and unsettling, but grounded by a warm beating heart. Maria Dong is one of the freshest, most vital new voices in fiction.”
– Ashley Winstead, Author of In My Dreams I Hold a Knife

Taste the very first page

I need to make one thing clear before we get started.
I’m not a stalker, no matter what Leoni says.
In this, at least, you cannot trust her.